According to the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, a veteran Amesbury police officer was charged with two counts of assault and battery of a child with injury after allegedly hitting his 14-year-old son which made his nose bleed earlier this month.
Larry Bybee, a 46-year-old Amesbury resident, was arraigned on Tuesday in Salem District Court and released on personal recognizance. He is expected back in court on July 12 for a pretrial hearing.
Meanwhile, Bybee must remain drug and alcohol-free with random screens and have no contact with his children.
Since his son lives part of the week with his mother in New Hampshire, Bybee was also ordered to comply with all New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth and Families and Massachusetts Department of Children and Families requirements, according to court records.
Amesbury Police Department hired Bybee in 1997 and he had worked the day shift until he was suspended on June 14.
According to the DA’s office, the alleged assault occurred on June 13 when Bybee’s son was visiting him in Amesbury. A family member then reported the incident to the New Hampshire DCYF office, which alerted Amesbury police June 14.
At that point, Amesbury police Chief William Scholtz reached out to the state police detectives with the DA’s Office. That same day, Bybee was placed on paid administrative leave in line with Police Department policy,
Scholtz said he was astonished by the allegations.
“At the same time, we take the allegations seriously and those are the actions we took,” Scholtz said, adding that it was important to be as transparent with the public as possible.
According to Scholtz, during Bybee’s 20-year career with the department, he had never been suspended or the subject of excessive-force complaints.
“No, never,” the chief said.
Detectives interviewed Bybee’s son on June 19 and an arrest warrant was issued on Monday, according to Essex County DA spokeswoman Carrie Kimball-Monahan.
According to state police documents, Bybee’s son told police his father “scolded and mocked” him before punching him in the face and giving him a bloody nose.
The report said Bybee also slammed the boy’s head against a bathroom wall three times. The son told police his father was a heavy drinker and was drinking at the time of the assault.
The boy’s story was validated by his younger sister, who told police she witnessed the attack and could tell her father was drunk. The boy also reported the incidents to a DCYF representative at his high school.
“There is no known history of this sort of physical incident, there is a lot of verbal fights between them,” the report reads.
Kimball-Monahan said Bybee handed himself over to authorities at the courthouse on Tuesday morning.
When asked for comment on Tuesday at the Salem courthouse, Bybee’s lawyer, Eric Salach, said, “We’re not saying anything at this time.”
In addition to spending three years as a school resource officer, Bybee was one of a rotating number of officers who served in the department’s detective unit. Scholtz said Bybee’s decision to step down as a school resource officer last year had no relation to the charges he faces.
“No, nothing there,” Scholtz said.